MANILA - Rev. Fr. Douglas Badong, the vicar of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, or the Quiapo Church, urged the Catholic faithful to "wake up" and be aware of the injustices happening in society.
In his homily on Sunday, Badong read the Filipino version of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines' pastoral letter about the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which was passed while the country was battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
After reading the letter, Badong explained that God did not make anything evil, but evil exists because the enemies attack when the good ones are asleep.
"Habang natutulog ang mga tao, pumuslit ang kaaway at naghasik din ng masamang damo," he said.
(While people were sleeping, the enemies sneaked in and planted weeds.)
"Habang natutulog ang mga tao. Ibig sabihin, hindi alerto 'yung mga tao. Nakakapasok 'yung kasamaan. Nakakapasok 'yung kaaway," Badong added.
(While people were sleeping, which means they were not alert. Evil sneaked in. The enemies were able to enter.)
For Badong, a lot of bad things are happening in society right now because people were too busy to notice.
"Bakit maraming gumagawa ng masama kahit sa panahon ng COVID? Bakit maraming nagsasamantala? Bakit maraming corrupt? 'Yung mga ayuda, hindi nakakarating sa mga dapat. Nakakapasok ang kaaway kasi tayo, masyado tayong focused doon sa virus. O kaya naman, masyado tayong focused doon sa naku, nawalan ka ng trabaho, wala nang pagkain, umiiyak na 'yung anak mo," he said.
(Why are there a lot of people doing bad things during the pandemic? Why do corrupt acts happen? Aid does not reach those who need it. Enemies were able to sneak in because we were too focused on the virus. Or we were thinking about our jobs, where to get food.)
"So habang 'yung isipan mo punong puno ng alalahanin, 'yung kaaway, sumisimple," he added.
(So while we are focused on other things, the enemies sneaked in.)
He also urged the faithful to be aware of what is happening in society.
"Bakit ganito ang nararanasan natin? Kasi tutulog-tulog tayo. Ayaw din kasi nating magsalita. Ayaw din nating makialam. Ayaw din natin kasing makisangkot," Badong said.
(Why are we experiencing this? Because we are sleeping. We don't like to speak up. We don't like to get involved.)
"Habang tayo, abalang abala sa pag-iisip, saan ako mag-aapply ngayon, nagsara ang kumpanya mo, habang abala tayo saan tayo pipila para makakuha ng relief. Biruin mo, ang daming bagong batas pala na naipasa nila na hindi natin alam," he added.
(While we are busy looking for a job, while we are busy looking for relief goods. We didn't know there are a lot of new laws that were passed.)
He also said that most wouldn't care about the new law against terrorism until they are directly affected by it.
"Hindi natin mararamdaman ito ngayon. Katulad noong mga buhay pa noong 1972, noong panahon ng martial law, hindi ninyo naramdaman hangga't hindi kayo ang nahuhuli, hangga't hindi kayo ang naakusahan," Badong said.
(We won't feel it now. Just like in 1972, during the martial law, you didn't feel it until you were arrested, until you were accused.)
"May panahon pa. Kailangan lang talaga natin talagang gumising," he added.
(We still have time. We just have to wake up.)
In a pastoral letter dated July 16, the CBCP said it was "still in disbelief" at how government fast-tracked the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, while the country was battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Government "did not even seem to care that many of the people they represent" were against the law, citing the opposition of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, business sector, lawyers, labor groups, and many others," said the letter prepared by CBCP acting president and Caloocan bishop Pablo Virgilio David.